It has been “an unyielding year for agriculture in Pak-
istan,” according to the Lahore-based Express Tri-bune newspaper.
Floods, incompetence and in-flation continue to hold back the sector, it said.
Agriculture was the backbone of Pakistan’s rural economy but had been hit hard in 2022, especially due to the impact of the devastating floods.
It went on: “The Economic Survey of Pakistan 2021-22 presented an encouraging scen-ario; it said that the agriculture sector posted a 4.4 per cent growth in 2021-22 against 3.4 per cent in the corresponding year.
“Except the wheat crop, all
other crops have shown im-pressive growth.”
Quoting the Planning Com-mission of Pakistan, the paper said the floods had cost the country some $3.725 billion with about 1,784,126 hectares of agricultural land washed out and more than 800,000 animals having died across six provinces.
Some 82 per cent of the total damage and losses was to the crop fields, with 17 per cent livestock.
“The destruction of the crops, livestock and aquaculture infra-structure and assets has resulted in the temporary deterioration of livelihoods, employment and agriculture related income, as well as the potential decline in the export of important crops such as cotton and sugarcane,” it warned.
In the past year the price of essential food items in Pakistan, including wheat flour, rice, cooking oil, pulses, milk and meat, have all jumped dramatically.
Chaudhry Ahmad Jawad, pre-sident of the Pakistan Businesses Forum (PBF), said the country’s agriculture sector had suffered major setbacks in 2022.
“Rocket inflation, high input prices, high electricity tariff and then floods have put a heavy dent on the country’s agriculture sector,” he said.
“The same situation is likely to continue in 2023, if direct subsidies are not given on the key inputs of the agriculture sector.”
He went on: “There are over a dozen key areas where government attention is re-quired, including devising a legal framework to improve the purchasing power of small-holders, enabling them to get farm inputs without being ex-ploited by market forces.
“The farmers’ poverty should be taken care of because a lack of resources makes them vulnerable to exploitation from powerful individuals and institutions.”
The government has warned that the delay in planting some crops, coming on top of the losses already sustained, was likely to hit supplies in the coming months and lead to even higher prices.
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